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Pleural thickening claims and compensation

Pleural thickening is a benign or non-cancerous condition that can be caused by asbestos exposure. Sufferers often experience chest pains and breathlessness, sometimes leading to serious conditions such as mesothelioma

You may be able to bring a pleural thickening claim if you were exposed to asbestos at work, in a public place, or some other capacity, and believe it caused the condition.  

What is pleural thickening?

The pleura is a two-layer protective membrane surrounding the lungs and inside of the rib cage. If you inhale or ingest asbestos fibres, they can become lodged in the pleura causing thickening and scarring.

If the scarring becomes widespread and covers a large area, it can cause the pleura to thicken. This may make it difficult for the lungs to expand, which can cause breathlessness – known as diffuse pleural thickening .  Pleural thickening can occur in one lung (unilateral) or both lungs (bilateral).

Diffuse pleural thickening is a different condition to pleural plaques, which are isolated and discrete areas of thickening. Doctors believe that pleural plaques only rarely cause symptoms.

If you have been diagnosed with the condition, then you may be able to bring a pleural thickening claim against the individual or organisation responsible for your asbestos exposure. 

Our specialist team of personal injury solicitors will listen to you and advise on whether you have a claim and what to do

Ready to talk? Contact our specialist pleural thickening solicitors to discuss your claim. Call freephone 0800 6895854 and we will call you back, or 

Pleural thickening causes

The main cause of pleural thickening is asbestos exposure. The pleura is very sensitive and pleural thickening can be caused by low levels of asbestos exposure. 

It is a latent disease – meaning it may take many years after the asbestos exposure took place for the symptoms to emerge. Typically, this can be at least 10 or 15 years after exposure, but often much longer. 

Other causes of pleural thickening not caused by asbestos include:
  • Types of medication
  • Infections
  • Tuberculosis
  • Injuries from an accident
  • Radiotherapy
  • Some types of tumours

Pleural thickening symptoms

As your lungs struggle to inflate properly, pleural thickening can cause
  • Discomfort
  • Chest pains
  • Breathlessness

Symptoms may be more noticeable after physical exertion.  The level of disability can vary, from being mild or moderate to severe and debilitating. The condition can remain stable but sometimes breathlessness and disability get worse over time. 

To make a pleural thickening claim, you need a diagnosis from a doctor. If you experience any of the above symptoms and think you may be suffering from pleural thickening, arrange a doctor’s appointment first, before taking any further action. 

The diagnosis is usually made following a chest x-ray or CT scan. Treating doctors may arrange for follow-up appointments to check the condition does not progress. Sometimes, respiratory physiotherapy may be offered, depending on the circumstances.

Asbestos-related diseases

Although the condition itself will not turn into another asbestos illness, individuals exposed to asbestos are at risk of developing other asbestos diseases as well as pleural thickening. You could go on to develop:
This can be a major source of anxiety to some individuals with pleural thickening and may cause psychological distress.

Making a pleural thickening claim

If you are diagnosed with diffuse pleural thickening, you should seek legal advice about bringing a pleural thickening compensation claim. 

Employers owe a duty of care to provide a safe working environment and may be legally at fault if they exposed you to asbestos. 

If you have been exposed to asbestos and developed pleural thickening you may be able to bring a claim. Generally, those working in construction are more likely to be exposed to asbestos and develop the condition. These professions include:
  • Boilermakers
  • Builders
  • Carpenters
  • Electricians
  • Pipe fitters
  • Plumbers

How to make a compensation claim

It is important to instruct specialist pleural thickening solicitors experienced in acting for asbestos sufferers. Arrange a free initial consultation with one of our team to discuss your claim. 

We may need to  gather supporting evidence, such as:
  • Medical records and documents
  • Witness statements from colleagues and medical professionals
  • Photographs of your working environment
  • Financial records

There are time limits for bringing claims for personal injury, such as pleural thickening. Therefore, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible.  

What if you have pleural plaques?

If you have pleural plaques and you were exposed to asbestos in England or Wales, then you will not be entitled to bring a claim.

Insurance companies brought a test case to stop claims for pleural plaques and following a court decision in 2007, it is no longer possible to recover compensation for this condition. 
However, if you were exposed to asbestos in Scotland or Northern Ireland, then you may be entitled to make a claim. The court decision was over-ruled by legislation in these countries.

Provisional damages claims

If you have pleural thickening, then there is a risk you may develop another type of asbestos disease. Therefore, you can choose to settle your claim on a provisional basis. This means you preserve the right to come back and apply for more compensation if you develop another asbestos related illness. 

Contact our expert team about your case today:
  • Call freephone 0800 6895854  and talk to one of our personal injury solicitors or

Pleural thickening compensation

If your claim is successful, you will recover compensation for the impact the illness has on your lifestyle and the physical effects it causes you. This is known as damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.  

You may also be able to claim for any:
  • Out of pocket expenses – travel costs, accommodation, admin.
  • Loss of earnings – whether for a temporary or permanent period of time off work.
  • Care – including treatment, rehabilitation and therapy sessions, alongside equipment or home adaptations to support your recovery. 

If you are no longer able to do DIY, gardening and other types of domestic tasks, then you can claim for loss of your services. 

Levels of pleural thickening compensation awarded varies considerably depending on the facts of each particular case.

Are you entitled to benefits?

If you are diagnosed with pleural thickening then you may be entitled to state benefits. You are entitled to apply for a weekly payment called Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
If this is awarded, you might also be entitled to receive a lump sum payment from the government under the Pneumoconiosis etc (Workers’ Compensation) Act 1979 .  It is important to seek advice from expert pleural thickening solicitors regarding your potential entitlements.

Why choose Leigh Day?

Our experienced asbestos and mesothelioma team forms part of the wider personal injury department at Leigh Day. 

We have more than 30 years’ experience successfully claiming compensation across a wide variety of pleural thickening cases. Everyone within our team works to support clients through such difficult times, with the knowledge and expertise to help you bring a claim. 

We ensure all our clients have the right lawyer for them, an experienced specialist in their area.
"They are brilliant," says a client. "The whole process went very swiftly and it was a perfectly won case. Everything was seamless and the way they operate is very classy."

Sources say: "They are one of the best industrial disease firms. Their level of knowledge, professionalism and commitment to clients is very strong."

Another client describes the team as "first-class," adding: "I am most impressed with the service that I received and cannot think of anything they could do to improve their service." - Chambers and Partners 2020

Call freephone 0800 6895854 or email us and we will call you back.

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